Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Quilt Photography Workshop -- August Link Up

Photo 1:  1/125  f/2.5 ISO 400 

Welcome to the first link up in The Quilt Photography Workshop.  This month is all about photos of fabric because that is where it all starts, right?

My quilt photography goals and how I worked on them this month

1.  Use manual settings on my DSLR:  Yep - did this!  And I added the camera settings I used as a caption for each photo.

There are lots of great sources out there which you can use to learn about camera settings from people who actually know what they are talking about but I'll still write a little bit about what I do.  I always try to keep my ISO setting low since the higher the ISO, the more grainy the photo.   I usually start with the following settings and then adjust as needed - - ISO (100), Aperture (f/2), and Shutter Speed (1/125). If it is too dark, my first step is usually increasing the ISO but not much higher than 400 or 800 to avoid getting that grainy look.  I don't like to change the aperture too much as I usually prefer a blurry background (shallow depth of field) so I am more likely to change the shutter speed if I need to let less light in the camera. I just change it a little at a time (to 1/160 then 1/200, etc) until the light looks about right.  Shutter speed is basically how long the lens stays open - so it stays open longer at 1/125 than it does at 1/500 - and the longer it stays open, the more light that gets in.  Aperture is how wide the lens opens.  F/2 is a large opening that lets in a lot of light and gives photos the shallow depth of field - basically the blurry background.  If you want everything in focus, you need to use a smaller lens opening like f/5.6 but that lets in less light so you have to compensate by changing the ISO or shutter speed.

Photo 2:  1/125, f/2.5, ISO 400

2.  Take photos that need little to no editing:  Kind of.  I think I actually spent more time editing these photos than I usually spend on blog pics.  When I first added the photos to the post, I hadn't done much editing but after working on the post and staring at the pics, I did replace a few of them with more edited versions.  Not sure what to say about that!   I didn't crop any of the photos but I did have to adjust the white balance on some of them (I just used the auto white balance corrector on Picasa.)  I'm adding "learn how to use custom white balance settings" to my goals for next month. I used Picasa to edit all the photos but I am curious what editing programs others use???

3.  Work with indoor lighting:  All these photos were taken inside my house but with natural lighting.

Photo 3:  1/100, f/1.8, ISO 800

4.  Variety:  My actual goal for variety is not within each post but rather having variety from post to post.  I actually think I like it better when bloggers stick to one location per post/photo shoot.  However, I do think it works well to have variety within that one location including moving the quilt around the location, taking photos of the quilt from different angles, and taking detail pics of the quilt.

5.  Props:  I tried.

Photo 4:  1/100, f/1.8, ISO 400

My photos

Photo 1:  The photo as the top of this post is the standard photo that I tend to use when showing fabric on my blog.  I take the photos in my sewing space which is a small (5ft x 12 ft) sunroom on the south side of my house.  Since it is a sunroom, it has 3 walls of windows and thus, lots of light.  Plus, the wall in the room is painted white brick which usually reflects the light nicely.  I have my ironing board on that wall - I just throw a piece of neutral fabric over the ironing board and stack the fabrics on top for the pics.  Oh, and I took the photos midday - probably around 1pm.  I like this setting (which is why I often use it) but since the point of this workshop is to grow, I only took one of the photos there.

Photo 2:  I didn't move too far for this one.  I just draped my piece of light fabric over a little kid-size chair and placed it next to the ironing board - so the fabric was much lower to the ground which changed the lighting but I didn't have to change my settings.  I also sharpened and added a bit of glow to this photo - just to try it.  What do you think?

Photo 3:  This one I took upstairs about 4 feet away from a west-facing window.  This room doesn't get a lot of light so I had to change all my settings but I was able to get the nice background blur that I like.

Photo 4:  This is the same location as photo 3 but I tried to add in some variety by placing the fabric on top of a colorful quilt and I stacked up some quilts behind it.  I lowered the ISO on this - not sure why because I think this photo would have been better if I kept it at 800.  I also can't decide if I think it is too busy.  And I can't get the white balance right.  I still like the photo idea but I think it needs some work.

Photo 5:  1/125, f/1.8,  ISO 400

Photo 5:  I moved into a tiny room with two large windows (west and north facing) for this pic.  I just grabbed one of my daughter's toys for the pic (which in this photo is purposely out of focus because I wanted the focus to be on the fabric but I'm not sure if I got the look I was going for.)

Photo 6:  1/125, f/2.2, ISO 400
Photo 6:  I took this in the same location as Photo 5.  I am including this photo mostly to show a different view of the fabric (I used the sketch from the stack as the background fabric instead for this) but I don't like the shadows.  I also used sharpen, glow, and add fill light to this photo.

Photo 7:  1/125, f/2.2, ISO 400
Photo 7:  Not much to say about this one - I'm mostly including it since I used props and changed the background to a piece of linen.  Oh, and I folded the fabrics differently.  I think I should used a wider depth of field so that both the props and the fabric were in focus - maybe f/4.

Link Your Post:

Now it is your turn.  Link up below and be sure to visit as many of the other links as you can since that is how we'll all be learning, right?!?!  At the very least, visit the three bloggers who linked up before you.

Also,  those of you familiar with my blog know that I like to have you answer a specific question when the linky tool asks for your name.  My question for this one is "how many photos did you take total for your photo shoot for your post?"  I took, gasp, 186.  So, basically, I limited the amount of editing I needed but I still had to look through 186 pics?!?!?!  I probably should work on that - but it was pretty easy to narrow them down to 17 worthy of consideration for this post (of which, I used 7.)  Just write your answer, don't include your name or your blog name.

And please link to this post either with a text link or using the button in my sidebar to let people know about it.  Thanks!

I'll leave the link up open until next Saturday so make sure to come back at the end of the week so you can see everyone who joins in.  And I'll plan to write a follow up post which will include next month's assignment soon!

If you are sewing blogger who wants to participate in the Quilt Photography Workshop, please add your link here to a post with and about photos of fabric.  Please do not link to posts on other topics. If you are looking for a general sewing link up, there are many great options out there including Sew Cute Tuesday at Better off Thread and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.


  1. I really need to learn more about this but I hate to admit that I'm just not motivated. Great photos make such a difference but I have zero interest in photography. My husband is even a photographer with really nice (& expensive) equipment including wide angle and portrait lenses but I'm still more comfortable with our little canon point-n-shoot camera. The moment he starts talking about f-stops and aperture I just zone out. Someday soon I'm hoping the bug will bite me.

  2. I would love to learn photography...I still need to get a nice camera. I love this tho and I already learned some from this post!! I do love your photo #1 the best. Great idea for this linky party!!

  3. I will hopefully be linking up tomorrow. I just got home from being out of town so I haven't had a chance to take photos yet.

  4. I really liked your second photo the best. I like the softness of it and the little spool adds interest. I did not know about the auto white balance corrector on Picasa. Thanks for sharing that one!

  5. Great photos, Beth! I use picmonkey to edit my photos. i still need to take some photos of fabric and post for the party. Since I take photos on my phone, I'm afraid there won't really be much to share, which is why I haven't already done it.

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  6. I use Photoshop Elements for all of my photo editing. I really like it and have never looked into anything else. Maybe it's time to see what else is out there.

  7. Thanks for sharing and hosting. This is great.

    I left my name instead of just the number. Sorry!

  8. I use pic monkey since losing Photoshop with my last computer. I take oodles of shots to try & avoid editing though ;-)

  9. I really like Photo 4. I think the vintage feel of the fabrics works best with a little more color in the background. I like photo 3 as well, but since the fabric is off center, I think it might look better if the fabric "bled" off the edge of the photograph, but who knows, maybe you tried that! I tried playing with props, and though I ultimately liked the outcome, they were kind of tricky!

  10. Photo 4 on top of the colorful quilt is DEFINITELY my favorite. It's the warmest and most visually dynamic. I adore it (though they're all really great)! I wanted to take my photos today but it's been cloudy and/or rainy all day! I'll do it another day this week. Can't wait to join this awesome link-up and learn something new!

  11. This is great. I got a really nice camera a few months ago but don't really know how to use it. So I'm starting my journey to learn about quilt photography. It's going to be a long road. I don't even know what ISO means, LOL!

  12. What a fabulous idea. I love your post and appreciate all the inputs about photography. Thank for sharing. Marie

  13. Great post! I wish my camera had a manual mode. I love hearing how people do there shots. I just wish that I had the nicer camera! Maybe someday!

  14. This is such a great idea, Beth! I didn't get myself together in time for this link-up (boo!), but I'm hoping to be ready for next time!

  15. Great photos Beth! I couldn't take my photos last week :( Busy days are not fun. I can't wait to join in.

  16. Great photos! It's really motivated me to get out and make more effort to take pictures for my blog.

  17. Wow, 186 photos!!! I probably average about 20 for each blog post. I like the one you took with the stuffed dog and the one with the buttons/thread. I love photos when part is blurred and the other part is sharp in focus.

  18. Fab post Beth - I will try to join in for the next link up.

  19. Your photos are beautiful! The fabrics "come alive" in them. I like it that you can feel the texture in the photos.


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